Phonological transfer of Cantonese, Mandarin and English in native and non-native Chinese speaking children acquiring the three languages at Hong Kong primary school

Yanling ZHOU, Catherine McBRIDE-CHANG, Ying WANG, R. Malatesha JOSHI, JoAnn M. FARVER

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

This research examined and compared phonological skills in Cantonese, Mandarin Pinyin and English in 29 native Chinese speaking (CS group, i.e., Native Cantonese speaking) and 34 non-native Chinese speaking (NCS) (i.e., ethnic minority children whose mother tongues included Nepalese, Urdu, and Indian languages)second and third graders. Both groups were learning the three languages at local Hong Kong primary schools. We examined these children’s Cantonese phonological awareness and invented spelling skills in Mandarin Pinyin and English. The two groups did not differ on English invented spelling or Mandarin Pinyin spelling at the syllable, onset, or rime levels, but the CS group performed significantly better than the NCS group on Cantonese phonological awareness and Mandarin Pinyin tone skills, after controlling for non-verbal intelligence and grade. In addition, for the NCS group, significant correlations were only found between Cantonese phonological awareness skills (CPA) and English invented spelling skills (EIS) (r= .52) and between CPA and Mandarin Pinyin Spelling at the Rime level, (r=.49). For the CS group, significant correlations were found between CPA and EIS as well as Mandarin Pinyin Spelling at all levels (syllable, r=.70; Rime, r=.58; Onset, r=.64) including tone skills (r=.39). Results suggested there was a large degree of phonological transfer among the three languages, for both the CS and NCS groups. Yet, tone skills that are salient for acquiring both Cantonese and Mandarin were difficult to acquire for non-native Chinese speaking children. Copyright © 2016 Society for the Scientific Study of Reading (SSSR).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

Citation

Zhou, Y. L., McBride, C., Wang, Y., Joshi, R. M., & Farver, J. M. (2016, July). Phonological transfer of Cantonese, Mandarin and English in native and non-native Chinese speaking children acquiring the three languages at Hong Kong primary school. Paper presented at The Twenty-Third Annual Meeting Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.

Keywords

  • Phonological awareness
  • Transfer
  • Chinese
  • Second language
  • Spelling

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